It's Simply a Renaissance in Good Taste

"Beer is back," proclaims Chris Campbell. As he sees it, a new sophistication and appreciation for well-brewed suds has created a whole new group of beer drinkers who are not merely out for a buzz. They're looking for flavor.

And flavor is what Campbell is brewing up at Sandpoint's new microbrewery, Pend Oreille Brewing Co. Campbell is brewmaster and co-owner of the new brew pub, along with Terry Jensen and Ken Jackson.

Conversations similar to those among wine connoisseurs discussing body, bouquet and the like are now occurring for beer connoisseurs. With the renaissance of malt beverages, beer -- like wine --  can be consumed with a dinner as part of a meal, according to Campbell.

A former ski instructor who developed bad knees, Campbell was looking for a new career when he discovered the microbrewery industry was growing like crazy. "I called Terry and Ken, and they were silly enough to do it with me."

After going through a brewmaster program, Campbell proceeded to work on concocting the pub's first beer, a feat accomplished on Jan. 1. Late in April, the brew pub and family restaurant opened, offering several styles of beer brewed on site and other regional microbrews along with upscale pub grub.

Jackson, the director of marketing, said microbrew are popping up at the astonishing rate of three per week in the United States. It hearkens back to an earlier time; before Prohibition in 1918, there were 4,000 breweries and only 100 million people. Today the country's population has risen to 260 million, but there are only 1,100 breweries. After World War II there were only 40 breweries, all making the same stuff, according to Jackson.

"As a culture, we've missed out on good beer for 70 years or more. There were no choices," Jackson said.

Now, Sandpoint's enlightened beer drinkers have more choices. Pend Oreille Brewing Co.'s roster of beers includes Rapid Lightning Red, an American style red ale; Hoodoo Porter, a porter referred to as "a truffle in a glass"; Hefeweizen, a German style light, unfiltered beer; and City Beach Blond, a true lager. They are carried on tap at many local restaurants and pubs and at the Pend Oreille Brewing Co. at the corner of Cedar and Third in Sandpoint.

-- Billie Jean Plaster

Back to Contents Page - 1996 Summer Sandpoint Magazine